New Year Aikido at Hama Rikyu Gardens

Aikidoka sword fight
aikido shoulder throw

You mightn’t associate aikido with the New Year.  But I do as do many other people in Tokyo.  A group of aikidokas give an annual display at Hama Rikyu Gardens on January 2 and 3.  It’s a part of the annual celebrations for the holidays. 

To be honest, I don’t know anything about aikido.  I can only say it is a martial art.  And that is a modern one.  I had to check Wikipedia, but it was created in the twentieth century.  And that is as far as my knowledge of it goes.

aikido throw practice armed opponent
aikido mat hold

This display takes place at Hama Rikyu Gardens every year, on January 2 and 3 (except during the pandemic).  It is the prelude to the falcon display.  How big is the crowd?  I’m not sure, but it seems there are at least 1000 people.

aikido practice Hama Rikyu Gardens
aikido defence against sword attack

The host of the event took us through the history of aikido and its development.  Once he finished that, it was on to the display of the martial art.  All the practitioners were sent down to the mat.

aikido presentation

A few of them also seemed to be put in painful holds!  I think I would have lasted about two seconds.  The locks looked very effective. 

aikido block movement
aikidoka sword fight hama rikyu gardens

There were also displays of sword fighting.  They were real ones of course but made of wood.  It was interesting to watch.

aikidoka bows

By the way, I used the Fujifilm 100-400 mm lens for this article.  It performed well.  As the aikidokas were about fifty meters away, they appeared large in my viewfinder.

Aikidoka wood sword fight

It might be better if I leave this article here.  Aikido and martial arts aren’t my strong point.  I hope the photos do the talking.  Please leave questions and comments below.

kneeling aikidokas

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